This Week in Health: Have you tried quitting smoking on a Monday?

Monday is just around the corner. Credit: Wavebreak Media
Monday is just around the corner.
Credit: Wavebreak Media

Smokers who want to quit choose Mondays

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: Data study

Results: Smokers around the world are more likely to consider quitting smoking on Mondays, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine. This joint study monitored Google searches in English, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish over five years and found consistent data for each country.

Significance: According to the study’s lead author, San Diego State University’s John W. Ayers, the findings could be used to direct the way health officials and clinicians approach smoking cessation. “Popular belief has been that the decision to quit smoking is unpredictable or even chaotic,” Ayers says. “By taking a bird’s eye view of Google searches, however, we find anything but chaos. Instead, Google search data reveal interest in quitting is part of a larger collective pattern of behavior dependent on the day of the week.” Adds co-author Morgan Johnson of The Monday Campaigns, “Public health can now leverage the benefits of Monday to improve health communication around quitting smoking.”

 

HIV drug might help fight cancer

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: Mice

Results: A medication discontinued as a treatment for HIV in 2010 following an unsuccessful clinical trial is looking promising as a cancer therapy, according to a study published in the Journal of Cancer Research. Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center using CCR5 inhibitors found a dramatic reduction in aggressive breast cancer cells that were spreading to the mice’s lungs.

Significance: Vicriviroc joins the list of drugs that may have a purpose originally unforeseen by researchers.

 

Stem cell study offers potential treatment strategy for Lou Gehrig’s disease

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: Laboratory study of skin cells

Results: Researchers using a stem cell technique to create neurons in a lab dish from skin scrapings of patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease found that molecules made of small stretches of genetic material blocked the effects of a defective gene thought to cause a specific form of the disease. The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.

Significance: Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, is a fatal disorder that attacks muscle-controlling nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and affects 30,000 to 50,000 people in the U.S., according to the researchers.

 

Regular cocaine and cannabis use may trigger impulsive behaviors

Location of study: Netherlands

Study subjects: 61 regular cannabis and cocaine users

Results: Regular cocaine and cannabis users have an increased tendency toward impulsive behavior, according to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. Both drugs increased impulsive responses, but in opposite ways. Under the influence of cannabis, subjects were slower, but made more errors. Cocaine administration caused the participants to react more quickly. When participants had to control their impulses, they made more errors.

Significance: “This increased impulsivity after drug use could increase the likelihood of developing addiction,” says lead researcher Janelle van Wel from Maastricht University.


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